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Corvette: The 2006 Year in Review

by Keith Cornett on December 20, 2006

This was an interesting year for Corvettes and the people that follow them. New Corvette Chief Engineer Tom Wallace took the reigns from the retiring Dave Hill. The rumored Blue Devil/SS supervette project is finally confirmed by GM and evidenced by test mules running the streets around Detroit. The 2006 Z06 Corvette was the official pace car of three major auto races while its big brother, Corvette Racing’s C6.R won their 50th race during their 50th year of racing. In between? Awards, controversy and a whole lot of fun following America’s Sports Car.
January: Tom Wallace officially takes over the Corvette’s Chief Engineer position as Dave Hill retires. Wallace is only the fourth person to hold the Chief Engineer title for Corvette. The oldest surviving Corvette, a 1953 with the serial number of #003 sold at the Barrett Jackson auction for $1 million dollars. Alan Poster gets a call from the Police. His 1968 Corvette which was stolen 37 years ago was recovered, just days before being shipped to a buyer in Sweden.
February: Jay Leno and the Z06 Corvette pace the Daytona 500. Rumors about the mysterious Blue Devil/SS project begin to swirl after comments by Ed Pepper, Chevrolet’s General Manager, appear to give the project credence.
March: GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz weighs in the Blue Devil/SS project by commenting “There will be something special for the Corvette soon.” Chevrolet implements a service bulletin for the C6 Corvettes after reports of C6 coupes’ roofs flying off. The National Corvette Museum makes its expansion program public. Corvette Racing wins at Sebring. The win celebrated Corvette’s 50th anniversary in road racing. AAA names the Z06 Corvette “The Cool Car of the Year”. The Corvette Assembly Plant builds over 4,000 Corvettes in March, the first time in 21 years that Corvette production was more than 4,000 in one month.
April: Atomic Orange, a new color for the 2007 Corvette is revealed. GM opens “The Drive” in Las Vegas which allows ordinary people a change to drive a Corvette around a high-performance loop.
May: Corvette’s Chief Engineer Tom Wallace confirms that GM will be building the Blue Devil/SS Corvette. Lance Armstrong and the Z06 Corvette pace the Indianapolis 500. Top Gear reviews the Z06 Corvette… Jeremy Clarskon is still an ass. GM issues formal recall notice for 30,000 Corvettes for the flying roof (delamination) issue. Corvette Racing finishes 1-2 in the inaugural Lone Star Grand Prix in Houston.
June: GM adds 4 Corvette and Cadillac dealerships in Ireland. AutoWeek rumor speculates that the Blue Devil/SS Corvette will be called the Sting Ray… No comment from GM. Corvette Scores Top 3 Ranking in JD Power Quality Award. Official pricing for the 2007 Corvette is announced. The Corvette Assembly Plant in Bowling Green celebrates 25th anniversary. Gus Grissom’s 1967 Corvette listed on eBay. The former Astronaut’s Corvette had a high bid of $310,100 and was a no-sale. Corvette Racing wins the 24 Hours of LeMans. The National Corvette Museum delivers 1,000 Corvette for the year.
July: Corvette Racing takes second place at Lime Rock. Dale Earnhardt Jr’s 2005 Corvette is listed on eBay. The 2006 Model year closes out. 34,021 Corvettes were built during the model year. One rumor speculates the Blue Devil/SS Corvette will be named the Z07 while another one says the horsepower output will be in the 700 range. Neither rumor gains traction. Matthew McConaughey’s 1971 Corvette is listed on eBay. Proceeds from the sale to go to Oprah’s Angel Network. 2007 model year Corvette debuts, including the new Atomic Orange exterior color. Corvette Racing wins their 50th race at Portland. Corvette’s Assistant Engineer Tadge Juechter is elevated to the Corvette Chief Engineer position while Tom Wallace retains the Vehicle Line Engineer title. Motor Tend magazine speculates the Blue Devil/SS supervette will be called the Corvette Stingray.
August: MSRP pricing goes up across the board on Corvette, adds $3K to the price of a Z06. The Z06 Corvette paces the Brickyard 400. Corvette Ranks 2nd in JD Power Dependability Survey. Corvette Racing Finishes 1-2 at Road America.
September: Corvette Museum hosts the 5,000 new Corvette delivery as part of the R8C Museum Delivery Program. GM extends the powertrain warranty on Corvette and other GM vehicles to 5 years/100K miles. Overhaulin does a 1957 Corvette. Pro Team announces the Last Corvette will be sold at 2007′s Barrett-Jackson auction. Corvette Wins Motorist Choice Award.
October: Corvette Racing Third and Fourth at Petit LeMans. GM’s VP of Design Ed Welburn says the gold Chevy Bowtie will be appearing on the Corvette in the coming years. The first test mules of the Blue Devil/SS Corvette are photographed and published online. Corvette Wins 2 Strategic Vision Total Value Awards. The 1972 Corvette Convertible driven by Chris Tucker in the movie Rush Hour is listed on eBay. The National Corvette Museum details their expansion plans to add a library, diner and meeting areas to the existing Bowling Green facility. In the opposite direction are rumors about a V6 kappa-platform vehicle with a Corvette badge. Corvette Racing overcomes performance sanctions to sweep the ALMS Championships in the GT1 class. I finally became a member of the National Corvette Museum.
November: Consumer Digest names Corvette a “Best Buy”. Photos of a silver Blue Devil/SS test mule are posted all over the web. Corvette Wins AutoWeek Readers Choice Award. Ivan and Mary Shrodt donate $1.3 Million dollars to the Corvette Museum. Callaway Cars introduce the Callaway C16 at the LA Auto Show.
December: Kelley Blue Book unofficially names the Z06 Corvette as having the best resale value. Winding Road admits faking photos of the silver Blue Devil/SS test mule. Corvette added to Car & Driver 10 Best Cars List. Z06 Corvette names to Automobile All-Stars List.
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